The environment has a huge impact on people’s health and well-being. Many studies have shown direct links between the quality of the environment and people’s physical and mental health.
Recent initiatives we have spearheaded to maintain a healthy environment for our members and our employees include:
We are committed to reducing our energy consumption and lowering our carbon footprint. Several of our buildings have achieved ENERGY STAR® certification; and all of our facilities use state-of-the-art building automation technology to minimize the cost and environmental impact of energy used by heating, cooling and lighting. Finally, several of our buildings, including our Chicago corporate headquarters, have green roofs to reduce stormwater runoff and urban heat island effect.
Using Renewable Energy
Generating electricity from renewable energy sources has been shown to reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. As of 2015, 50 percent of our electricity supply at our Chicago corporate headquarters comes from renewable sources such as wind or solar panels.
Animals play an integral role in our ecosystems. In an effort to protect migratory birds from flying into our buildings, we participate in the Audubon Society’s “Lights Out” program and turn off our exterior lights at 10 p.m. in our Chicago headquarter building. Since 2013, the number of bird collisions has decreased by more than 80 percent.
Used computers, phones and other electronic equipment that aren’t disposed of properly can leach harmful toxins into landfills and groundwater. To conserve natural resources and protect the communities where we live and work, we recycled or resold over 11,500 electronic devices in 2015.
Our employees recycled more than 1,300 tons of paper in 2015. Our corporate headquarters has piloted an innovative closed-loop recycling system. The paper we recycle is taken to a facility where it is reformed into the toilet paper that we use in our office bathrooms. And our Print Smart program has streamlined member claims communications to reduce paper usage by 21 percent since 2012.
Greening the Commute
To help reduce the number of employees that drive to work, we have encouraged telecommuting and work-from-home opportunities. Nearly 22 percent of our employees telecommute and we invested in bike-share programs in many of the cities where we do business. We have funded over 6,600 bikes in Chicago, Houston and Oklahoma City alone.